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The Surface Pro 3: 3 Reasons to Not Buy



The Surface Pro 3 device Microsoft unveiled last week is a technological marvel. Packed into the devices that’ll begin going out to users this June are years of knowledge, and it shows. For those really looking to replace the laptop, Microsoft has added a 12-inch display and made the Surface Pro 3 as thin as the Surface 2 devices that include no fans and can’t install desktop apps. The company even added a kickstand that can be freely adjusted, saving users from a life filed with flimsy bulky cases. By most accounts, the Surface Pro 3 is the first device to truly challenge Apple’s MacBook Air, or the laptop form in general. Unfortunately, pulling the trigger on a pre-order and purchasing the Surface Pro 3 might not be the best idea just yet. Here’s why.

The Surface Pro 3 is Expensive

Surface Pro 3

No matter how possible Surface Pro 3 buyers look at it, the device is incredibly expensive. In  Microsoft’s defense, it’s supposed to be. Last week, CEO Staya Nadella made it clear that the company has no immediate plans to compete with its hardware partners like Dell and Lenovo. Instead, the Surface devices and brand are meant to spur innovation and act as a sort of guiding light for hardware makers themselves.

Still, at $799, the Surface Pro 3 is a premium device with a very premium price tag. To make matters worse, the base price only includes a 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. A fully stuffed Surface Pro 3 device will run $2,000 when it debuts in August. All of these prices don’t include the new Surface Pro 3 Type Cover keyboard that Microsoft always shows off with the device. It’ll cost users another $129.99.

Read: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to Take on the MacBook Air for $799

By comparison, Dell’s Inspiron 15 notebook comes with 4GB of RAM and the same Intel Core i3 processor as the base level Surface Pro 3 for $399. Unfortunately, it’s bulkier and doesn’t include a touchscreen, but it’s still not a bad machine. Apple’s Macbook Air starts at $899 and comes with a smaller 11-inch screen. On the other hand, it still includes 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor. Either way you look at it, the Surface Pro 3 is expensive when judged against the competition.

Replacing the Batteries in Surface Devices Are Expensive

surface pro 3 with surface pro type cover

Ever since Apple released the MacBook Air and made it ok for hardware makers to not include a way for users to change out the batteries in their machines, a small number of users have been on a crash course with reality. Technology companies have become very good at creating devices that get longer battery life, however users either don’t know or don’t care that all batteries need to be replaced at some point.

Thankfully, most users don’t seem to keep their devices for more than two years, which is right around the time most batteries began to tail-spin. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, Microsoft did say that the Surface devices were engineered to get as long as four years before needing new batteries. Simply put, replacing the battery in a Surface Pro device is expensive. According to reports from those who’ve sent in their devices, replacing the spent battery in a Surface Pro cost $450, mostly that’s because Microsoft doesn’t actually change the battery. Instead, it just sends users a new unit.

All signs point to this being the same thing that Surface Pro 3 users will experience a few years after purchasing their device. Though, Surface Pro 3 users will need to fork over $200 instead of $450. To be clear, this isn’t a matter of quality. Having a device for a long period of time will always require a battery replacement. It’s that Microsoft’s prices are so high that worries. By comparison, Apple charges its users just $129 to replace the battery in the MacBook Air.

The Surface Pro 3 Address A Few, But Not All, User Complaints


Finally, the biggest reason to hold off on purchasing the Surface Pro 3 is simply that this hardware revision fixes some, but not all, of the complaints leveled at past Surface Pro devices.

There’s a new cover keyboard that allows the device to sit more comfortably on the lap and an adjustable keyboard so that users don’t develop a neck ache. On the other hand, the Surface Pro 3 still lacks a built in place for the included Surface Pro pen accessory. This device isn’t the upgrade to make for those who wanted more connectivity either: the Surface Pro 3 includes just one functional USB port as the devices before it did.

If either of those issues were a concern for you, then you’re stuck waiting until the Surface Pro 4 to see them resolved.

Read: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is Aggressive, Defensive, Ultimately Confusing

During last week’s Surface event Microsoft announced that a single version of the Surface Pro 3 would be available on store shelves beginning mid-June. The cheaper and more expensive versions of the Surface Pro 3 won’t be available until August.




  1. rummelx2

    05/31/2014 at 12:29 pm

    i think the surface shouldn’t be compared to ipads or macbook airs or anything lenovo or dell are going to put out. honestly it should be compared to products like wacom’s companion or companion hybrid tablet lines or the modbook made by axiotron. what microsoft has made is a premium product that fits a niche market much like wacom and axiotron. an illustrator like myself would loves the fact that the surface can run illustrator/photoshop with ease despite what everyone considers a gimped processor. i was making amazing design and projects back in the ppc g4 days, a core2duo is enough. i can only imagine what more i could do with an i3.

    in short, the surface is not a product to be compared to lessor products like macbook airs or dell generic laptops.

    • Darkwood30

      06/01/2014 at 4:34 am

      My last paycheck was $19863 wơrking 17 hours a week online. I’ve been doing this for almost two years now, as a second job, and have made over $300k using this system. It’s really user friendly, tasks simple and fun…..Check this out…….. PayCog.c*om

  2. brutaltruth

    05/31/2014 at 1:18 pm

    The three reasons you have listed sound more like excuses given off by a person who’s in love with apple devices (someone who owns a MacBook pro or air and also has an iPad). It’s as if you couldn’t find any better reasons why someone shouldn’t get the surface pro 3. The power the surface has under its belt, and the work one is possible to get done on one of these devices, and the possibilities this product has, no single device on the market can compare. The iPad is just a toy next to this device and the MacBook pro is just a thicker, heavier and truthfully, not as impressive to look at device. Microsoft has come a long way and I now that they are on the right track. For serious people who do work that you can’t put a price on, the price shouldn’t be a bother. People would spend over $2,000 on the macbok pro and not complain or spend $600 on an iPad that’s only 100% to children from ages 2-13 (I know a 2 year old who know how to operate an iPad) and still not complain. People have both devices and brings them up to $2,600 and don’t complain but a device that can do almost more then both only at $800, they seem to feel their pockets ach. I met doctors, businessmen, artists, and hundreds of college student who had ipads and switched to the surface because the iPad is more of a toy for children to play temple run of other sorts of games on and a laptop is just getting harder to lug around when you have books and files with you. My point, 1.) the price isn’t something one should complain about (people worked hard on it and they deserve to get paid for their effort, what if someone took your work for granted), 2.) by the time your battery will need to be replaced, this device will be nothing compared to the ones out in two years (I know people who got a new iPad every year a new one came out, that’s bananas), and 3.) the surface pen has a slot for it to hold in the type cover. Like Microsoft said, the pen wasn’t made to be cheap or thin, yes, they have the technology to make it thin, but their goal was to make it a “pen” thus its name “pen”. I’ve heard people with the Samsung note complaining how hard it is to twits with such a small stick when their hands are not as small. It’s all relativity, if you compare it to a certain device, stick to it but compare it to something in its class and get your facts straight. There are 5 types of people, but there are more than a thousand different characters and everyone has his or her unique needs. If something doesn’t fit your needs, it doesn’t mean it won’t fit anyone else needs.

  3. Brad McKenzie

    05/31/2014 at 4:41 pm

    And how many reasons do you have TO buy the SP3…?

  4. brutaltruth

    05/31/2014 at 6:09 pm

    Honestly, More than 25. When you give reasons, you compare it to things in its class and you should go into the small details that have a huge impact on the product. Not only the big things that can be modified just for the looks. People always said that the iPad had more apps than the surface RT. Well, true true. But then they go to the surface pro and they don’t mention the app comparison and they still rate the iPad better. The question is, better for who, in what category, they should specify this. They should say, if your a kid and like to play games, get an iPad. There is a reason critics are called critics; they criticize things and when people criticize, they know what “they” like so they believe that they are right and everyone is wrong and this makes the people reading there story believe them and they sadly took a bite of the poison apple. The media is full of lies and mostly peoples opinions. Back in 2010, people would buy a $1,500 laptop and you would never hear them complain that it was to expensive, and if they did complain, they still got the product, why? Because the product was productive and it did what they needed it to do. Now people just get a product because it’s not to expensive but and it can do 2 thing from their 500 things I need it to do list and then they go and get another device. There are many reasons one should get a surface pro. You should sit down and start thinking. You’ll be surprised. Yes, the iPad is a good product 3 years ago it had a noble goal but the goal and the game has changes the iPad is now old news.

  5. dricht1

    05/31/2014 at 10:59 pm

    “It’s expensive” – The best things often are. You get what you pay for – a device unlike anything else on the market.

    “Batteries are expensive” – Just like any tablet and most laptops. Microsoft replaces them for free during their manufacturer warranty, if I read correctly.

    “Not all complaints” – It doesn’t make me pizza on demand, either. I’ll grant you that the lack of a second USB port is a bit of a letdown, but honestly between the docking station and Bluetooth will you actually need it? Doubtful. And you’re really reaching if you think the lack of pen storage is a valid complaint, unless you truthfully think the Samsung Note pens offer the better experience.

    Sorry for breaking your article.

  6. Darren

    06/01/2014 at 1:18 am

    I can write the same article with the same reasons for the iPad Air as well, because I don’t want to pay more than $50 for a toy, and its battery, and said toy doesn’t make me a sandwich.

    Where the f*** do these journalists come from.

  7. Vgirl213

    06/01/2014 at 3:59 am

    This is perhaps the worst, and there are many, article on SP3 yet. Who keeps the their technology more than about 3 yrs anyway. Tech improves so fast you want a new device then if its going to make your work life easier anyway. Complaining about the battery or the pen loop (where you can clip it to the back like a book when its closed and the rest of the time its in your hand) is like being upset this device doesn’t make you pizza. Its damn near perfect. How many other things in your life you’ll touch today could you say that about?

  8. Odisej Wolff

    06/01/2014 at 7:25 am

    The point about the SP3 price that Microsoft makes and this reporter obviously misses is that it replaces 2 devices. Therefore, compare its price with Macbook Air + iPad Air.

  9. Sammy Hung

    06/01/2014 at 9:08 am

    Great article. You make excellent points. I was toying with the idea of getting the SP3 but the it’s way over-priced. I could get better value for Lenovo Ultra Book for same price as entry level SP3 w keyboard but with a faster processor and double the storage and RAM.

    • Arin

      08/21/2014 at 11:15 am

      On the high end, the story is reversed.

      I originally planned to replace my Lenovo ThinkPad T520 with a new touchscreen T440s and its docking station. But a similarly equipped Surface Pro 3 — with i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD — turned out to be a couple hundred bucks cheaper, even with keyboard and docking station (the dock alone is $50 cheaper than the T440s’s). I checked out the Lenovo X1 Carbon just now, too. With a touchscreen/i7/8GB/256 configuration, it’s similar to the T440s in price: more expensive than an SP3 + keyboard.

      Sure, the entry-level SP3 is no computing powerhouse. But even the most powerful laptop doesn’t let you naturally sketch out diagrams or take handwritten notes, so one could argue that a laptop is no Surface Pro 3 replacement.

  10. spinedoc77

    06/01/2014 at 10:10 am

    It’s so tough to read these fluff blog pieces from journalists who don’t do their homework, and we wonder why the world doesn’t accept bloggers as real journalists.

    1) Surface Pro 3 is expensive: Ridiculous, but you know math is a tough subject. The SP3 is NOT supposed to be compared to an ipad, but it’s an interesting comparison nonetheless. A 64gb ipad air is $699, a 64gb surface Pro 3 is $799. That’s $100 difference to get a real OS like full windows, to get a digitizer and stylus, to get a freakin Core processor, to get the kickstand, to get the option of a keyboard cover, I could go on and on, and this is in a package almost as thin with all day battery life. I have to ask, seriously is Apple paying you money for a bad review? Because the complete lack of basic mathematics just makes no sense at all. Now a more valid comparison would be a MacBook Air which is $999 for a 128gb model versus….wait for it… $999 for a 128gb SP3 model. Gasp…mathematics…is…cool.

    2: Battery cost. Really the bread and butter of a journalist is research, really. Panos panay is on record saying the battery will last charging 5 days per week and at 4 1/2 years it would still retain 80% charge. That’s pretty phenomenal, that battery will last a loooooong time. Contrast that with a MacBook Air’s battery which reportedly decays pretty quickly. One example…ery-in-a-year/ TLDR: after a year the MacBook air only retained 85% charge. So in a nutshell the surface pro battery is more cost efficient over the life of the device, taking into account total cost of ownership is an important factor in determining the “cost” of a battery replacement. Now here is where things get funny for those “journalists” who don’t bother with pesky things like research. Apple – Support – Service Answer Center Yes a retina display MacBook Pro costs…wait for it….$199 for a battery replacement!!!!! Wait the surface Pro 3 will cost about $200 to replace. Are these not the same prices? It’s makes more sense to compare the retina MacBook with the surface since they both have much higher resolution displays than the Air. OK point 2 demolished, let’s move on.

    3: No pen silo: Wait a minute, I was hoping this would not be so easy. One of your major complaints is that the device doesn’t have a pen silo or storage for the pen? News flash, the MacBook air or even the highest priced MacBook pro has no pen, why? Because they don’t even have touch screens. You are taking one of the biggest strengths of the surface pro 3, on of the most incredible abilities and making it a negative because there isn’t somewhere to store the pen? Of course humans ability to use their thumbs really gives us insight on how to solve these types of problems: 6 other ways to attach the Surface Pen to the Surface Pro 3 | Windows Phone Central My favorite is to simply slide the pen onto the cover itself at one of the ribs, simple.

    In conclusion your points are weak, not well thought out, and lack basic journalistic integrity, lack of any kind of research and a lack of basic mathematics ability. Man, what happened to the old Gottabemobile, I miss that site.

    • Brad Corcoran

      06/03/2014 at 6:41 am

      I have to agree. I’m reading a lot of negative press (blogs) that are basically just people who don’t seem to get what Microsoft is trying to do. Will this device be a flop? Maybe. But not for the battery replacement cost and lack of pen silo.

      The fact that you need to move two levels up to get a decent amount of RAM and that the Type Cover is extra are bigger concerns, but still not deal breakers when compared to the competition.

      I would love to see journalists do some research and show some numbers like you did to back up their arguments instead of comparing apples to oranges as they often do. Hell, I saw one blog post say the Surface 3 was fanless. I mean… how do you get that wrong? It was a major part of the reveal presentation.

  11. Gabriele

    06/02/2014 at 2:47 am

    Ok, tell us the truth: this is just a provocation in order to gain visits and to get rich with the advertising.

  12. Feral

    06/05/2014 at 4:31 pm

    Wow, this is sad. It’s obvious that the “writer” sat down to write a negative review despite having very much information or insight into the device, it’s features, usage, etc. My only question is why did you wait until after the reveal/launch to write your review? You could have written this way before MS even revealed the device and you knew it existed … it would have carried just as much insight and weight as this article.

  13. yo

    06/06/2014 at 10:02 am

    1) expensive:
    it is cheaper than the equivalent ipad/macbook-air or ipad/ultrabook.

    2) battery:
    MSFT has a warranty on it and even after the warranty period is over, MSFT says the battery under heavy use will hold 80% capacity.

    3) device:
    nothing is perfect but that doesn’t mean the device is bad. It is better than an ipad an ipad air combination in many ways, in particular because OSX is basically a dead ecosystem.

  14. venetasoft

    07/04/2014 at 7:33 pm

    Ignorant journalist, period.

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